5 Things Accounting Students Should Know About Becoming a Tax Preparer

Whether you’ve just declared your major or you’re months away from graduating, you have a host of strong career options as an accounting student. One career you should strongly consider is a professional tax preparer. Here’s what you should know.

Tax preparation can be a viable, profitable side hustle

Many students have the misconception that owning their own tax preparation business has to be a full-time venture. If your long-term goals include climbing the ranks at a public firm or one day landing a CFO position in a private industry, you may have never even considered tax preparation as an additional career path.

No matter your aspirations, professional tax preparation is flexible enough to be an additional source of income as you pursue your other career goals, making it an increasingly popular choice for millennials looking for a side hustle

You don’t need to be a CPA to prepare taxes

Of course, not all accounting students plan to sit for the CPA exam. Even without a CPA license, an associate or bachelor’s degree in accounting will put you well on your way to becoming a qualified, knowledgeable tax professional.

You can further your career in tax preparation by pursuing other credentials like Enrolled Agent status or continuing education opportunities like the IRS Annual Filing Season Program.

You can start while you’re still in school

You can start making money as a professional tax preparer long before you have your accounting degree in hand. 

To get started, you’ll need to apply for your PTIN (Preparer Tax Identification Number) and EFIN (Electronic Filing Identification Number) and register with your state. You can apply to work with established tax offices in your area or even opt to start your own practice immediately. While starting out on your own may be more challenging at first, you’ll have the foundation of a business that you can carry with you throughout college or the entirety of your career. Our Ultimate Guide to Starting a Tax Preparation Business can help you learn more.

You don’t need a tax-focused career path

Perhaps your professional interests lie in audit or financial advisory, outside the world of tax. Even if you don’t plan to pursue tax as your main career path, your education and experience in accounting of any kind will still help you tremendously as a professional tax preparer.

CPAs have unlimited representation rights before the IRS

If you are planning to become a CPA, you’ll be glad to know that you won’t need any additional certifications, (such as Enrolled Agent status) to have unlimited representation rights before the IRS. Your status as a CPA will automatically give you all the credentials you need to represent any taxpayer in any situation before the IRS. Whether you’re interested in professional tax preparation as a main career, a side hustle, or a part-time job during college, we’d love to help you get started. Contact TaxSlayer Pro Sales to learn more about working as a tax preparer.

The information in this article is up to date through tax year 2021 (taxes filed in 2022).